What would cause skin on fingertips to peel off?

Updated July 11, 2018

Peeling skin, particularly on the fingertips, remains a common occurrence for many people. Although the condition may occur as the result of everyday activity, it may also develop due to a more involved medical circumstance. While the condition usually proves more bothersome than serious, check with your doctor if the problem persists for more than a few weeks. Keep in mind, on some occasions, peeling skin may serve as the sign of a more serious medical problem.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease occurs when the walls of the arteries flare up. Although the inflammation attacks the lymph nodes and mucous membranes, it can also affect the skin. The irritated skin may eventually begin pealing, particularly on the hands and fingertips. While the cause remains unknown, Kawasaki disease primarily affects children.


Chemical ingredients in such seemingly benign agents as lotion, soap and detergent may spark eczema, commonly described as a general irritation of the skin. As a result of the use of such products, eczema remains a common occurrence on the hands and fingertips. The typical symptoms of eczema include dry, scaly and peeling skin.


Fungal infections located on the hands and fingers may begin with a reddish, flaky skin surface followed by periods of severe peeling. Antifungal creams can remedy the problem quickly. In rare instances, a viral or bacterial infection can irritate the skin, which will eventually lead to peeling.

Moist or Dry Skin

Extreme moisture, such as bouts of severe perspiration on the hands or washing dishes without gloves for a long period of time, can lead to the development of peeling skin on the fingertips. Dry skin, which can occur by washing your hands with hot water and harsh chemicals, may also eventually lead to peeling.

Treatments or Medication

Undergoing chemotherapy treatments can alter the appearance of your skin. This usually occurs two to three weeks following treatment and may appear in the form of dry or peeling skin all over the body, including the fingertips. Medications applied with the fingertips, such as acne cream, may prove particularly acidic, drying out the tips and causing peeling in the process.


It's not uncommon for one's skin to peel following a sunburn, specifically on the hands and fingertips where the skin remains particularly sensitive. Peeling occurs so that another new layer of skin may replace the skin surface killed during the sunburn.

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About the Author

A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.